Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Should I Feed My Dog a Raw Diet?

My oldest pooch, Ripley, is almost 14 years old.  Despite her age, were it not for her severe and aggressive arthritis, she'd still be active and happy and would probably live for several more years.

But since she was about 5 years old, she's had arthritis in her spine and back legs.  If you've read some of my other posts, you may remember that she had back surgery in 2010 and has had fluid injections in her knees. (If you'd like to know more about Ripley and what a special being she is, read my blog post, One Man's Trash is Another (Wo)man's Treasure.)

Despite the surgery, injections, joint supplements, anti-inflammatories and pain relievers, her condition has gotten worse rather quickly.  She's showing more and more signs that her condition will soon render her immobile and in unbearable pain. 

One of those signs is her lack of interest in food.  For the past few months, I've been fretting over the fact that Ripley no longer wants to eat dog food. No matter what I tried, she turned away from it. She is so stubborn, she'll go days (literally) without eating anything but a couple of bites a day.

About a week ago, I bought some dehydrated, raw dog food from Only Natural Pet Store.  Ripley LOVES it. Is it more expensive than dry, processed dog food? Yes and no. It depends on what you already feed your dog. Like super premium dog food, your dog needs less to thrive than with cheaper brands.

(Get $10 off orders of $30 PLUS Free Shipping on orders of $79 or more. Use coupon AF10BUCKS through 5/31/2014. New Customers Only.)

Most American dog owners don't, and have never considered, a raw diet for their dogs.  Honestly, it sounds a bit gross and unappealing.  But that's just because we're humans, not dogs.  While looking around for some kind of food that Ripley might like, I started researching raw food diets.  I was worried about bacteria and other food-borne pests and diseases.  Is a raw diet safe?  One article I read is on Only Natural Pet Store's website; I'll share some of it below:

"Diet is the foundation of health. The fresher the diet, the more nutrients are available for the animal's system to utilize in building immunity, healing from illness and warding off disease. Raw food diets have been shown to help the body deal with many common ailments such as flea infestations, hot spots, continual shedding, poor dental & gum health, allergies, gastro-intestinal problems such as Inflammatory Bowel Disease, immune disorders and degenerative diseases. 

"Raw diets have been common practice in European countries for decades, especially Germany, where it is commonly recommended by veterinarians. The fear of feeding raw meat in this country seems to stem from a fear of salmonella, E. coli and parasites. In over 10 years of feeding raw food and seeing countless animals on raw food diets in my practice, salmonella and E. coli have not been seen to be a problem. Remember, pets' digestive systems are designed to accommodate raw meat. Parasites could be contracted through eating wild, whole prey or game meats, but is much less likely to occur with properly handled human grade meats. Infection is more likely to occur through a pet's ingestion of feces or soil, or from poorly handled meat."

If you'd like to learn more about feeding your dog a raw diet you can read All About Raw Food on Only Natural Pet Store's website.  The article includes results from a long term study on raw food for cats conducted by Francis M. Pottenger, Jr., MD; introducing a raw diet to your pet; affordable alternatives to fresh or frozen raw food; and more valuable information. 

I've only been feeding Ripley the raw food for about a week, but so far I'm impressed with it.  She eats with gusto again and the food is very easy to prepare.  You just add water to the dehydrated mixture of meat, grains, fruits and vegetables and let it soak for 30 minutes or more, then serve.  You can prepare up to four days food in advance and store it in the frig.  Or, like me, you can prepare each meal individually.  After she's done eating a meal, I wash the bowl and mix her next meal in water and then let it soak in the refrigerator until about an hour before her next meal.

After the mixture soaks in water for a while, it looks and smells very appetizing.  You can see the carrots, cabbage, oats and meat very clearly and it smells like chicken soup.  (The Only Natural brand has 3 flavors and there are several other brands of dehydrated food on Only Natural's site as well.  Click the link just below to go to Only Natural Pet Store's website.)

I bought a 2 pound bag of  Only Natural Pet EasyRaw Chicken & Oats 2 lbs just to try it, and with the serving size Ripley's getting, it should last me close to 2 weeks.

Anyway, if you have a REALLY finicky, stubborn (spoiled) dog who won't eat regular dog food, or you want to incorporate some raw food into your dog's diet, give it a try. 

I've been a customer of Only Natural Pet for a couple of years now. They ship fast and are true to their guarantees. They always have something on sale.  If you've never shopped from them before, you can Get $10 off orders of $30 PLUS Free Shipping on orders of $79 or more. Use coupon AF10BUCKS through 5/31/2014. New Customers Only.

OR ... look in the upper right-hand column ... there's a link for 20% off your order during their Spring Sale (good through May 31, 2014).

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Comments and Feedback are always welcome, as long as you follow one rule: Be the person your dog thinks you are (or cat, bunny, ferret, horse ...)